Last week, Richard Sanders, a district fisheries biologist, and two of his employees sampled the large-mouth bass population at Lake Henry, a small pond at the Clinton State Park.
"Right now is a good time because this is the first time of the year bass are moving into the shallower water to spawn," he said.
The sampling entails going around the edges of the lake in a commercial shocker boat, which emits an electrical current through steel cables into the water. The electricity causes the fish to become buoyant for a few moments so state employees can catch the fish and put them in the boat's live holding tank.
"Some are barely stunned for a few seconds and others are for several minutes," Sanders said.
After going around the entire lake, the employees weigh and measure the fish. The measurements are compared to previous years' numbers to determine fish growth rates. Sanders said it takes a bass about four years to surpass 15 inches.
Right now, Sanders said, it's a perfect time to go fishing. In addition to the bass, he said, fishermen might catch crappie, channel catfish, carp, white crappie and green sunfish.
"Many of the fish are spawning and they're real aggressive," he said. "There's ample time to go fishing, and this is the time to get out and do it."
Clinton State Park is offering free fishing dates on June 2 and 3; a state park tag will not be needed.
-- Staff writer Joy Ludwig can be reached at 832-7144.